Disorganised Plotting Spells Havoc

Kathmandu valley and its outskirts have witnessed an ugly urban sprawl and the problem is compounded by land plotting done in a haphazard manner. In the past few years, open spaces and fields are being devel oped for real estate purposes with rampant land plotting. Even small open areas, sandy river banks and uneven areas like hill slopes are not spared. The areas most affected by haphazard plotting in the valley include Dilli Bazaar, Maitighar, Baneshwor, Gongabu, Ghattekulo, Bal aju, and Koteshwor. According to the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee (KVTDC), the minimum required area to be plotted is two aanas and two paisa (855.6 square feet). But this criteria is not being met. In addition to it, the trend of plotting land without seeking permission from concerned authorities is not only prevalent but also on the rise.Consequently, the rate of evasion of land tax is also escalating with the government losing in millions.

"Beside land plotting by real estate enterprises, haphazard plotting by land owners has become a problem for us," says Roshani Karki, section officer at the land administration branch of KVTDC, adding that landowners say they are just labelling the land for their own purpose, while later on it is sold off for commercial use. She ad mitted that ille gal land plotting is on the rise and due to absence of proper regulation and monitoring system; the concerned authorities have not been able to keep it in check as expected. In addition to it, they lack capable human resources and mechanism to stop the ongoing process. According to Karki, they have received a number of complaints in last few months regarding irregularities in plotting. The concerned authorities seem to be in the dark and come to know about it only after the news is published.

According to Karki, even if they halt the process the question of security arises. She questions, "Who is responsible for the consequences after the process is halted?" According to her, the main reason for the inability to enforce the regulations is due to the dual system of handling the land issue. Plotting is monitored by the KVTDC and approval of blueprint is obtained through the metropolitan office. She opines that it would be more effective if both of them were handled by a single authrority.

"Vertical expansion is justifiable but if the rate of plotting horizontal area continues, the whole valley and its out skirts will turn into a slum and there will be scarcity of open space," says Devendra Dongol, senior planner of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC). According to him, the government should discourage horizontal expansion and encourage vertical expansion with carefully devised scientific and technical methods. He emphasised that encouraging vertical e x p a n s i o n according to floor area ratio will ensure availability of more space. The only way this is possible is through formulation and implementation of revised housing policy rules and regulations. If left unchecked, this trend will not just further damage landscapes but also threaten the habitat. KMC is planning to collabo rate with interested parties to conduct a study to discour age horizontal expansion.

source: The Himalayan Times: Property Plus